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initialize USB disk

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Old 11-08-2008
The Clarks
Posts: n/a
initialize USB disk

Hi, I have Vista and I have a hard drive that I had for my personal stuff
from XP, my son installed it into my new PC then I got the drive
disconnected so as not to void the warranty when the technician from Acer
came to fix a problem I was having. I decided to get a casing for the drive
and use it as a USB device but can't initialise the disk.
I go to control panel/admin. tools/computer management/disk management. My
disk shows but I don't know how to initalize from there. When I right click
I get a help message only and not the options I get when I right click my
other drives.
The guy who sold me the casing installed the drive for me and I'm sure it is
OK as it shows that the disk is there.
It doesn't show when I look in the computer.
Thanks, I hope I have explained my problem properly

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Old 11-08-2008
Patrick Keenan
Posts: n/a
You were using this drive, and you have data on it? In that case you do
not have to initialise it. That's really only necessary before it's been

Try assigning it a drive letter, and at worst you can try the command line
version of the disk management utility. Open a command prompt and type
"diskpart", and then work through the commands. Basically the process is
to list the disks, select the disk you want, list the partitions, select the
partition you want, assign it a drive letter. In diskpart, the ? key will
get you the help text. You don't have to list the items if you know
exactly what they are, but it helps to be sure.

The syntax is like this:

List disk
Select disk 2
List partition
Select partition 1

and at this point, you should be able to see the drive with a letter in My
Computer and Explorer.

Boy that sure jogged memories. It's like working through an old "Adventure"
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Old 15-08-2008
Posts: n/a
Re: initialize USB disk

When I bought a brand new drive I could not format it as it was not
initialized. Nowhere in Vista could I find out how this is done.

On another forum I found the answer.

Under Control Panel/Disk Management I found the new hard drive to
appear but in black, not like the other drives.

Next to the name was a small red cross. Right clicking the red cross
allowed me to initialize it?

Why is it so hard to do this in Vista and why is there no help for this
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Old 10-11-2009
Posts: n/a
Re: initialize USB disk

Hello everyone from a newbie.

I've been following this thread as I'm trying to do exactly the same thing. Run the hard drive from my previous lappy (with XP) in a caddy connected to my new lappy (with Vista) in order to copy all of the data.

So I've done the above steps, but I get the "device is not ready" when I try to initialise it.

In the "properties" I get a "device is working properly" message, so I'm completely bewildered.

Anyone any ideas what I do to get my device ready so I can initialise it?

And if ir doesn't need initialising - all it needs is to be assigned a drive letter even though Disk Management seems to think that it ought to be initialised - how do I go about assigning it a drive letter?

Sorry if much of the above seems unnecessary but I really don't have a clue about this (just in case you hadn't guessed ;-0 )
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Old 16-11-2009
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2
I have a somewhat slightly differnt question regarding disk Initialization...
I installed a usb drive (brand new) and when I went to the Disk Manager it asked me to initalize the disk so I Clicked yes, and then poof it was doen..however it initalized the 250 g as a 130 g and I can't get windows xp to change it . I read the help files and then say to rgiht click the drive and select initalize but that option never appears...any suggestions?

It is an older machine (2006) but its running windows XP. The question is how can I re-initialize the drive with the propwer 250 GB as opposed to 130 GB.
Thanks in advance..

Unfortunately I've tried that...several times to no avail. Even on a newer machine. Seems Once Windows has decided tio initialize the disc as 130GB, that's it. Do you know how Icould perfrom a low level format and erase the boot sector?

Again thanks in advance
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Old 17-11-2009
Gene E. Bloch
Posts: n/a
Re: initialize USB disk

In Windows the word is Format.

Your BIOS might not allow larger file systems - the number 130 "g" (you
meant GB, right?) rings a bell in my brain.

If your computer is a 5 or 6 years old and running Windows Me, the BIOS
might be the reason.
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Old 17-11-2009
Roy Smith
Posts: n/a
Re: initialize USB disk

Right click on My Computer, either on your desktop (if present) or in
the Start menu. In the pop-up menu click on Manage. On the left side
of the Computer Management window click on Disk Management. Now
right-click on the entry for your USB drive and select delete partition.
Finally try to create the partition again.
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Old 18-11-2009
Gene E. Bloch
Posts: n/a
Re: initialize USB disk

The question should've been "how can I reformat the drive...", and if your
BIOS doesn't support large partitions, the answer is "You can't". Unless
you upgrade your BIOS...

If your BIOS supports large drives, then I agree with Roy Smith.

I think 2006 is recent enough that your hardware (BIOS) should be OK.

OTOH, maybe there's something wrong with either the hard drive or the USB
enclosure or adapter that you are using. It happens :-(

You are formatting the drive as FAT32 or NTFS, correct?
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Old 18-11-2009
Zaphod Beeblebrox
Posts: n/a
Re: initialize USB disk

The 130GB sounds like the 24bit addressing limit that used to be a
problem back around 2001 when the first WD 160GB drives arrived. XP
SP1 should have taken care of that limit, as should a BIOS from 2006.
However, as suggested the drive enclosure may be the problem. See
http://forums.windrivers.com/archive...p/t-64702.html for an
example much like this one, where the solution was to connect the
drive directly and partition / format it, then put it back in the
enclosure. I'm not sure how comfortable I would be that it wouldn't
have problems when filled to over 130GB, however...
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Old 18-11-2009
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2
Re: initialize USB disk

Considering all the bad luck I've had with hard drives these days ... it may be that....
I have iniatilized other hard drives using the same enclosure (it's a 5.25 enclosure with removalble drive bays) without any problems.

Are you suggesting I take the drive out and install it in another computer as a slave drive and then see if windows will re-initialize it (i.e. re-write the boot sector) once I remove the partition?
Am I to take it, that since win xp has written the boot sectoer to 130GB... I'm struck with a 130GB hard drive.

thanks again for all your help guys ...too bad computers are as user friendly
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Old 19-11-2009
Gene E. Bloch
Posts: n/a
Re: initialize USB disk

Thanks for the corroboration - I wasn't all that sure about the 130 GB

And yes, as your link seems to imply, the enclosure itself might have a
controller that won't work over 137 GB (OK, I was off by 7 GB!).

I have no idea why the OP thinks that the boot sector prevents Windows from
formatting the drive to a new capacity. Perhaps he doesn't think that
rewriting the boot sector is part of formatting...

If Roy Smith's idea doesn't work for the OP, that does tend to implicate
the BIOS in the computer or the controller in the enclosure (or even the
drive itself).
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